Beating the “memory thief”

I read an interesting article in the recent issue of “Fortune” magazine, Issue 5.1.15 on the race to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. They shared about an experimental drug by Biogen called aducanumab, which is still being clinically-trialled, and has created much positive buzz. With the numbers of people likely to get Alzheimer’s increasing in many countries and with no cure, and the high cost of caring for these patients, this news is promising. The article mentioned that the trial of the drug showed that amyloid plaques (associated with Alzheimer’s) were “greatly reduced”.

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Encouraging entrepreneurs into the silver space

The MOU signing between NUS Enterprise and ACCESS Health International.

NUS Enterprise and non-profit think-tank ACCESS Health International have launched a new programme called Modern Aging at InnovFest unBound 2015. Starting in August, this four-month programme brings together students, researchers and health professionals from across disciplines to create businesses targeting the ageing population in the areas of ageing and healthcare.

This is further in line with Singapore’s agenda to be a Smart Nation and is being supported by the Ministry of Health (MOH), and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and ESSEC Asia Pacific, who are the programme’s academic partners.

“Modern Aging can contribute to the growth of new business in Singapore and help the country meet the needs of an ageing population worldwide. Businesses that are successful in Singapore may serve the needs of the elderly globally,” said William Haseltine, chairman and president, ACCESS Health International.

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Insights to the ageing population

Today, I attended the “Rethinking Health and Wellness Sharing Session”, a follow-up to the two earlier workshops organised by the DesignSingapore Council, and the design consultancies shared some takeway points. Here are some of the slides from Orcadesign and SupraCopula on “Empathetic Ageing with Technology”:

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Road safety for seniors

Silver Zone sign at Bukit Merah View.

Last year, Singapore launched the Silver Zones with enhanced road safety measures to make it convenient and safer for senior pedestrians. Two areas – Bukit Merah and Jurong West – are already completed, with three more housing estates on the island to come.

Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Health, and chairman of the Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Committee (PCSC) Associate Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim shared during the launch that seniors are “over-represented” in traffic accidents and the situation needs to be improved.

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Best activities for seniors’ mental health

Exercise, Tai chi and qigong, self-help through books (bibliotherapy), computer-based therapies or computer games, and reminiscing on the challenges a senior has overcome in life came out tops as the most effective activities for improving the emotional well-being of older people. These activities were detailed in a new booklet (left) developed for aged care workers to help them identify and protect the mental health of older Australians.

Said beyondblue’s CEO Georgie Harman, “Around one in 10 older adults experiences depression and a similar number experiences anxiety. Mental health conditions are even more common among older people in the community who are frail and need support to remain at home, and among those in residential care. Research shows nearly 35 percent of people living in residential care facilities have depression.”

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